Cell phones revolutionized everyday culture since the emergence of smartphones. Children and young teenagers use their cell phones on a daily basis, making them targets for all kinds of sexual pranks, online predators and cyberbullying. Parents must be fully informed on various cell phone safety practices, cell phone safety tips, and cyberbullying prevention methods. Only then would using a smartphone daily become an enjoyable, carefree experience.
Your Kids Must Know Who They Text and Talk to
Talking on the phone is almost like opening the door to your house. Remember when they always advised you to say “Who is it?” before you opened the door to your house? You should teach your kid to know who he/she is talking to or texting before engaging in a chat or a phone conversation.
As a parent, it is advisable to restrict your kids’ phone calls to family members or their friends. This would make it easier for you to protect your kids from online predators, cyberbullying and prank calls.
Kids Should Always Be Respectful When on the Phone
Manners matter, whether your kid is on the phone or in real life. You should always teach your kids to treat others the way they would like to be treated. Protecting your kids means putting in mind that you should also protect them from bullying others.
Educating your kids on the dangers of cyberbullying, sexting and media sharing includes notifying them on the dangers of harming. You can always emphasize that a cell phone safety catalogue involves acting responsibly and respectfully so that you deserve respect from others.
Extra Tips for Using Social Media on the Phone
Social media defines kids’ lives these days. Sometimes kids even find themselves creating profiles on multiple social networks due to peer pressure.
Teach your kids to limit using social media whenever possible. They should also use social media mindfully and cautiously. You can also limit cell phone usage during lunchtime or regular family gatherings to protect your kids from Internet addiction. One of the key cell phone safety rules is to warn your kids against posting personal information on social media including intimate pictures, phone number and home address. This tip makes it harder for sexual predators and hackers to use your kids’ details for their menacing schemes.
The Dangers of Social Media Mapping
Location-based social networking or social media mapping is one of the easiest ways for stalkers to prey on your kid. This includes checking-in to restaurants, pubs or even neighborhoods. Kids believe it to be a fun way to become popular through bragging about the many cool places that they visit. Apps like FourSquare, Loopt and Gowalla that use GPS technology make your kids more vulnerable by exposing their exact physical location online for everyone to see.
As a cell phone safety rule, limit usage of such apps to the minimal necessity like when your kid is accompanied by you.
Stay Away from Download Overload
Ringtones, photo sharing applications, music and games can all be cool gadgets for your kid’s smartphone. They can also eat up the cell phone data usage limit and sometimes your kid’s whole savings. Teach your kid to download applications responsibly and only through trusted websites. You should also make your kid aware of copyright infringement laws and how unethical it is to download entire movies and music albums from illegal digital content libraries.
These illegal websites not only infringe the copyright of the author but also use your kid’s phone as a host for implementing spyware and Trojans. As a cell phone safety rule, you should always monitor your kid’s download processes and recognize the sources from which he/she obtained a new application.
Costs of Text Messaging
Texting is not always for free, despite what most kids believe. Some cell phones charge a couple of cents for sending and receiving text messages. So your kid might be gambling with your money just to have a small talk with the significant other. You can always advise your kid to limit usage of cell phone text messaging and resort to free mobile messaging apps like SnapChat, Kik or ChatON. Cell phone safety profile is enhanced when you are aware of all the capabilities of your phone and what it lacks.
Smartphones and Driving: Too Dangerous?
Cell phone safety rules are not complete without warning your kids against texting and driving. According to a research paper published by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in the UK, social networking while driving is responsible for accidents more than drink driving or being high on cannabis while driving. When your kid is on Facebook while driving, he/she is not only endangering himself/herself but all the drivers and pedestrians around. Texting and driving has also been nicknamed DWI which is an abbreviation for “Driving While Intexicated” due to the studies that proved that people who text while driving are totally out of focus and almost intoxicated by this act. The National Safety Council statistics reported 1.6 million car crashes per year due to texting while driving.